C. Disciplinary Proceedings

C. DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

Under the direction of the Chancellor, and subject to other University policies, the VCSA has primary responsibility and authority for the administration of student discipline in response to violations defined in Section B above. Further delegation of this authority may be made by the VCSA to Deans of Students (DOS). The Dean of the Graduate School will be notified in all cases involving graduate students.

 

1. Filing Complaints

  • 1. Any academic or administrative official, faculty member, staff member, student, or community member may file a verbal or written complaint with the Office of the Dean of Students against any student or student organization for a violation of the Code of Student Life.
  • 2. While action on a complaint of a violation is pending, the status of the student shall not be altered except for reasons outlined below, or as otherwise provided for in University policy.


2. Presumption of Non-Responsibility – Standard of Proof
Subject to all other provisions of the Code or University Policy, any student charged with an infraction under this Code shall be presumed not responsible for a violation until determined to be responsible by a preponderance of evidence; for a student to be found responsible for a violation, the evidence must indicate that it is more likely than not that the violation occurred.

 

3. Preliminary Investigation
When the VCSA or designee receives information that a student has allegedly violated University policies or local, state, or federal law, the VCSA or designee shall investigate the alleged violation. After completing a preliminary review of the complaint, within seven (7) business days, or as soon as possible thereafter, the VCSA or designee may dismiss the allegation or may proceed with the disciplinary process as outlined in the Code. Proceeding with the disciplinary process may involve:

  • 1. imposing an Interim Suspension or an Interim Action as described below which will remain in effect pending a review by the All-University Conduct Board or appropriate University official, or
  • 2. making a Referral for Psychological Evaluation as described below or
  • 3. proceeding with the pre-hearing conference as described below.

 

4. Disciplinary Correspondence
Disciplinary correspondence regarding alleged violations of the Code of Student Life will generally be sent to the student’s University email account or the most current address listed with the University Registrar’s Office. However, the University reserves the right to use other reasonable means to notify students. Students involved with a University disciplinary matter are responsible for checking their university email accounts on a regular basis.

 

5. Summoning a Student for a Pre-hearing Conference

  • 1.The VCSA or designee may formally summon a student to appear for a pre-hearing conference in connection with an alleged violation by sending him/her/them a pre-hearing notification communication.
  • 2. The pre-hearing notification communication shall outline the specific charges, and shall instruct the student of the date/time of a scheduled pre-hearing conference. If a student fails to attend the scheduled the pre-hearing, a reminder communication will be forwarded to the student. This communication instructs the student a second scheduled appointment.
  • 3. If an accused student fails to attend his/her second appointment or to reschedule his or her appointment, the accused student forfeits all rights as outlined below, and the administrative hearing officer or AUCB may proceed with the disciplinary hearing in the student’s absence. The hearing in absence will not be held fewer than five (5) class days from the date of the original charge communication.

6. Pre-hearing Conference

  • 1. During the pre-hearing conference, the VCSA or designee shall explain the rights, responsibilities, and conduct procedures to the accused student. Specifically, the accused student's rights are as follows:
    • 1. To have a pre-hearing interview with the VCSA or designee. If the student fails to schedule or attend the pre-hearing interview, the student waives her/his right to request a hearing as outlined below.
    • 2. To have written notice of the violation(s) and an outline of rights prior to an administrative or AUCB hearing. In the event that additional violations are brought, a further written notice must be forwarded to the student.
    • 3. To review all available information, documents, exhibits, and a list of witnesses that may testify against him/her/them. Prior to the hearing, the VCSA or Designee will inform the student of any new material in the student’s disciplinary file that is likely to be considered at the hearing.
    • 4. To request an Administrative or AUCB hearing.
    • 5. To elect not to appear at the hearing. The hearing is then conducted in the student’s absence.
    • 6. To be assisted by one advisor. An advisor or support person may be defined as: a friend, a family member, and a member of the university community or an attorney. It is the student’s responsibility to request and obtain the services of an advisor/support person. University officials are neither required nor obligated to act as advisors/support persons and hearings will not be scheduled based on advisor availability. The advisor or support person may not speak on behalf of the student throughout the disciplinary process. This includes but is not limited to; address the Hearing Panel, present evidence, make objections or statements, ask questions of any party or witness or otherwise participate in the hearing, beyond privately communicating with the party that he/she is supporting. If the student has received a suspension of ten (10) or more days or expulsion, the advisor or support person may fully participate during the disciplinary appeal process.
      • a. The advisor, upon request of the student, may:
        • 1. Advise the student concerning the preparation and presentation of his/her case. The advisor may not speak for the student.
        • 2. Accompany the student to all disciplinary proceedings. The student is limited to the presence of one advisor, who shall not speak for the student.
        • 3. In cases involving sexual or violent offenses, the alleged victim may have a support person present during the hearing. The support person is in attendance to provide emotional support to the alleged victim. The support person may not participate in the hearing.
    • 7. Unless the student waives all or part of the notice, the formal hearing will not be held fewer than five (5) class days from the date of the original charge communication.
  • 2. During the pre-hearing, the VCSA or designee shall inform the student of the following options for resolution of the alleged violations:
    • 1. The student may deny responsibility and request an administrative hearing before the VCSA or designee where determination of responsibility will be made.
    • 2. The student may deny responsibility and request a hearing before the All University Conduct Board(AUCB) where a determination of responsibility will be made.
    • 3. The student may accept responsibility and request for an administrative hearing before the VCSA or designee to determine an appropriate sanction.
    • 4. The student may accept responsibility and request for the AUCB to determine an appropriate sanction.
    • 5. The VCSA or designee may opt to refer any case for review by the AUCB.
  • 3. The VCSA or designee is authorized to provide other opportunities for conflict resolution outside of the conduct process, when appropriate, if all involved parties agree. These opportunities may include mediation or other methods designed to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. All parties must mutually agree upon the choice of conflict resolution method after review of procedures and potential terms of resolution. Such alternative means of conflict resolution are not permissible with regard to allegations of sexual misconduct as defined in this Code.
  • 4. If a student fails, without good cause, to respond to the charge communication sent under this section, the administrative hearing officer or AUCB may proceed with the disciplinary process (including any hearings) in the student’s absence.

7. Hearings
Subject to the availability of AUCB panel members and witnesses, the student’s hearing will be held not later than twenty (20) business days following the date of the pre-hearing or the student’s failure to respond to the second charge communication, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The purpose of a hearing is to determine whether a student is “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating the Code of Student Life. No later than five (5) days from the date of a hearing, a decision will be made based on available information, with or without the attendance of the accused student, provided that efforts have been made to notify the student consistent with this Code. If the student fails to attend the hearing, and has not participated in a pre-hearing conference wherein he/she has responded to the alleged violations, it will be assumed that the student denies responsibility for all allegations. When a student is found responsible and it is deemed appropriate, sanctions will be imposed. If a student fails to attend a hearing, he or she will be notified in writing of the outcome of the hearing. In situations where a student is found “not responsible” for the charged violations, but the hearing officer or AUCB concludes that the student would benefit from an educational conversation with appropriate University officials, the hearing officer or AUCB may require a student to participate in such a conversation.

 

8. All-University Conduct Board

  • 1. When a student requests a regular hearing before the AUCB or when the VCSA or designee refers a case to AUCB for a hearing, the AUCB becomes involved. The VCSA or designee serves as the advisor to the AUCB. A panel consisting of five members will be selected from a pool of members to hear each case. The chair, who is a faculty member, casts the tiebreaking vote when necessary and, when applicable, assigns the disciplinary sanction(s) in accordance with the Code of Student Life.
    • 1. Chair – Faculty (3-year appointment by Chair of Campus Faculty)
    • 2. Two University Faculty / Staff Members – staff appointed annually by OSSC with approval of staff senate/faculty appointed by Chair of Campus Faculty for a 3-year appointment.
    • 3. Two University Student Members – appointed annually from among students in good standing by OSSC involving Associated Student Government (ASG) in selection process of undergraduate students if available. To be considered in good standing for purposes of serving on the AUCB, students must not have any presently applicable disciplinary sanctions or pending charges with OSSC.
    • 4. Alternates – In instances where a University Staff/Faculty member or University Student member of the AUCB does not participate, an assigned alternate will serve as one of the five members of the AUCB.
  • 2. Jurisdiction and Responsibilities of AUCB:
    • 1. The AUCB has original jurisdiction when a student requests a board hearing, or when the VCSA or designee determines that a board hearing is necessary.
  • 3. Procedural Standards for All University Conduct Board Cases
    • 1. All matters upon which the decision may be based must be introduced into evidence at the hearing before the AUCB. The decision shall be based solely upon such matters and must be supported by the evidence.
    • 2. All evidence will be admitted except that which is irrelevant or repetitious. The AUCB chair will be the sole judge of admissibility of evidence.
    • 3. AUCB records are maintained in the OSSC and are confidential and may be released only with the consent of the student or otherwise consistent with law and University policy. This includes records of the conduct proceedings.
    • 4. A student may choose to present material witnesses to the AUCB for consideration at the hearing, although the hearing will not be scheduled based on the student’s witness(s) availability. Additionally, the student may not present character witnesses in person, character witness statements will only be accepted in the form of a written statement.
    • 5. Any member of the AUCB who has a personal interest in the particular case may not participate. In such cases in which a member cannot serve due to a conflict of interest, an alternate will serve as indicated above. If more than one member of AUCB does not participate, a temporary member may be appointed by the VCSA or designee. If the responded requests an AUCB member step down due to a perceived personal interest and the AUCB member does not feel that said personal interest exist, the AUCB chairperson will make the final determination.
  • 4. Duties of the VCSA or designee to the AUCB Prior to a Hearing:
    • The VCSA or designee shall:
      • 1. Consult the AUCB in setting the date, time, and place for the hearing.
      • 2. Assist the AUCB in summoning witnesses and preparing evidence that is requested by the AUCB.
      • 3. Notify the student by university email account or by communication of the date, time and place for the hearing. The VCSA or designee shall send the hearing notification communication as outlined above. The hearing notification communication shall specify a hearing date not less than five (5) business days after the date of the receipt of the communication. A student may request in writing that an earlier date be set, if feasible. The AUCB, for good cause, may postpone the hearing and notify all interested persons of the new hearing date, time, and place.
      • 4. The communication described above shall:
        • 1. Direct the student charged to appear at a specified date, time, and place and inform the student that the case will be heard in absentia if she/he has failed to report within 15 minutes of the specified time and date.
        • 2. Advise the student of his/her rights as outlined in Section C above.
        • 3. Contain the charges that will be offered against him/her.
        • 4. Notify the respondent that the VCSA or designee may question the student’s witnesses and request a list of the respondents’ witnesses.

 

9. Charge-Plus-Sanction Communications
For minor violations of the Code of Student Life, the VCSA or designee may utilize communications which notify students of the charge as well as a prescribed sanction. Students receiving such communications will be afforded a hearing upon request. If a student does not request a hearing within a reasonable period of time described in the communication, the student will be deemed to have accepted responsibility for the charge and agreed to the sanctions as outlined in the communication.

 

For proceedings regarding Title IX, see the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy.